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Sauber confirm Frijns run in Abu Dhabi test

by Peter Allen

Photo: Renault Sport/DPPI

Amongst rumours of a 2013 reserve driver role, F1 team grants rookie Formula Renault 3.5 title contender his first proper testing opportunity…

Sauber have confirmed that Robin Frijns will drive their current F1 challenger on the first day of next month’s Young Driver Test at Abu Dhabi. The Dutchman has been rumoured with a reserve role at the Swiss squad next season. He will join the team’s current third man Esteban Gutierrez in action at Yas Marina, with the Mexican taking over the reigns to the car for the remaining two days. Gutierrez is expected to step up to a race seat next year in place of compatriot and fellow Escuderia Telmex product Sergio Perez, as teammate to Nico Hulkenberg.

It will a first proper F1 test for 21-year-old Frijns, and follows a demo run he was handed with Red Bull Racing at the Russian round of the World Series by Renault as a reward for being the top driver in the championship without affiliations to one of Red Bull’s rivals. This weekend, Frijns goes head to head with Ferrari and Force India driver Jules Bianchi and Mercedes tester Sam Bird at Barcleona for the Formula Renault 3.5 title, and is therefore in line for another run with Red Bull in Abu Dhabi whatever happens.

Gutierrez started his relationship with Sauber when he completed a prize test at the end of 2009 for winning the previous year’s Formula BMW Europe title. Frijns won the same title in 2010, but did not get an F1 test as a prize due to BMW’s withdrawal from the top of the sport.